Derbyshire County Council Labour Group Leader Anne Western has today confirmed that the planning application for a new Glossop Library “will not see the light of day” in the event of Labour being elected to run the County Council in May this year.
In a message to the people of Glossopdale, she confirmed that Derbyshire Labour will consult on the best ways to sustain library provision in the Victoria Hall and make best use of the “campus of buildings” that cluster around the library, following suggestions that the planning application for a new library would be reconsidered in the near future.
She has already given an assurance that the £2,000,000 which Labour set aside more than five years ago, will still be available for a fully-costed, value for money project that can enhance both library and adult education provision.
“If, after consultation with Ellie Wilcox and Damien Greenhalgh, the people of Glossop have an unexpected and unlikely
change of mind, then we would look again. But whatever we propose will be complementary to the work we commissioned when we renovated the adult education centre, rather than the unsympathetic modern structure that the local Conservatives continue to confirm they support.”
Padfield and Hadfield Councillor Ellie Wilcox said that discussions need to focus on a sympathetic internal refurbishment of the Victoria Hall Library.
“From visits to the Royal Exchange in Manchester, and from the refurbishment that is taking place on the Central Reference Library, people in Glossopdale know that older buildings can be retained and modernised sympathetically,” she says.
“Of course, we won’t be able to afford enhancements of that scale, as £2million can quickly disappear on a listed building, but it is nonsense to suggest that the Victoria Hall cannot provide a 21st Century library and community resource. The idea of the proposed supermarket-type design has met such strong resistance from locals, it would be reckless to still go ahead, especially since there have been no formal consultations surrounding library provision.’
Labour’s other County Council candidate Damien Greenhalgh has said that he wanted to be part of a mature discussion with the community on the way forward.
“One of the biggest mistakes of the present incumbents has been their failure to consult and listen. People need to know what the money set aside could buy. We hope to make discussion and dialogue with the wider community our basis for future policy, helping to properly address the needs of local people.”